What’s behind money squabbles?
For 14 years, I never considered divorce, but life became tough the last years, especially financially. I had to end maternity leave early and become the main breadwinner.
I still trusted my husband, we had joint accounts and the house was in both our names. I supported his full-time schooling for several months and ended up with large debt. When he eventually worked, we had opposite shifts, becoming like strangers. Harsh words were said and I realized that he abused my kindness.
In a separation, it’d be hard to prove that all the debt isn’t only mine. He denied doing anything on purpose and promised to help pay the debt through his new job.
But he’s such a spender! He started to buy the love of our teenage son with very expensive tech toys which I didn’t approve on our tight budget.
I felt that he took advantage of me.
I experienced other broken trusts (with a close friend and at the family doctor) which made me angry and selfish. (A good friend had the courage to tell me how I behaved, as I couldn’t see that).
I kept asking myself, “Why is everyone taking advantage of me?”
Later I forgave and tried to find inner peace but the hurt’s still there.
How is it better to deal with the debt — should I wait until he pays it all, and then separate if I cannot end this hurt entirely? Uncertain Steps
You’ve been deeply affected by these events. It’s somehow made you more concerned about the debt, than the marriage and effects of possible separation on you and your family.
You feel he’s taken advantage of you, and maybe he did. Now he’s working and should be paying off some of the debt.
The hurtful actions by others shouldn’t be added onto feelings about your husband.
Your current outlook on life is muddled by resentments, and financial anxiety (which should be easing somewhat if he’s paying towards it).
You two need financial advice. Perhaps moving away from a joint account to separate individual ones, with a defined contribution from each towards the debt, would help. A debt counsellor at your bank, or your accountant, can help you with that decision.
Marital or individual counselling’s also needed even if you separate eventually.
It’ll help you focus on the emotional issues for which “the debt” has become the symbol of your marital discontent. I’ve been promoted at work to team leader, replacing the former person who spent five years overseeing a division of our company. He was autocratic and worked only with a couple of his favourites. I’ve been asked to be far more inclusive and make positive changes.
I’ve invited other colleagues to join in a more collaborative approach, only to have this former leader question everything and openly criticize me.
How do I handle this hostile co-worker? Change Agent
You’re the company’s new choice as leader and must show confidence in yourself.
Go ahead with your proposed changes, but first prepare the colleagues you invite into consultation with you on these moves.
Be forthright and confident about why the changes are needed, but pay attention to others’ opinions. If some are worthwhile, show that you’re open to fine-tuning.
Meanwhile, if he continues his critical responses, keep a record of whether and how he’s creating a divided work environment within the company.
Before other employees get too divided under his influence, take the record to Human Resources and/or your boss.
You two need financial advice. Perhaps moving away from a joint account to separate individual ones, with a defined contribution from each towards the debt, would help
Tip of the day When money’s the main threat to a relationship, probe the emotional issues behind it. Read Ellie Monday to Saturday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website, ellieadvice.com. Follow @ellieadvice.